I just finished reading A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist. What a fun novel! Set in 1865-66 Seattle, you will fall in love with the characters and root for them as they stumble their way through relationships and other of life's problems.
Joe Denton moved to the Washington Territory ten years ago, to claim his free plot of land. Single men were allowed 320 acres, married men 640. His wife was to follow him there after he had the land settled and a house built. But she never made it. She died back home. Now, as the Civil War is ending and many women have been widowed or orphaned, businessman Asa Mercer has announced to the men of the Washington Territory that he will go east and find them each a bride - for a fee. Joe thinks this idea is ludicrous. Until the judge tells him that unless he can produce a wife soon, he will lose half of his land, reminding him that single men only got 320 acres. Joe can't lose his land now, not after putting ten years of hard work into it. So he grudgingly pays out the money for a Mercer bride.
Meanwhile, Anna Ivey has lost her whole family because of the war. She is working as a cook at a restaurant in Massachusetts, but the owner is a rude and lewd man who is determined to make Anna his. So when she sees an ad in the paper about a ship taking orphans and war widows to the new world out west, she jumps at the chance. The thing is, Mr. Mercer leads her to believe she is being hired as a cook. Little does she know that across the country, Joe Denton is expecting a wife.
As the back of the book says "The wedding is all planned... Someone just needs to tell the bride."
And of course, many more things go wrong. Funny things happen, dangerous things happen, embarrassing things, and through it all Joe and Anna must decide if they should marry out of convenience or wait for true love.
I highly recommend this book (and any by Deeanne Gist) to anyone who loves romance, history, laughter, and a good book.
You can find Deeanne online at her website and her Facebook page.